Hunger Challenge Recipe: Cabbage and Potato Casserole

Casserole
I like to think I have an ancestral way with cabbage due to my Slavic genes. For this recipe I challenged myself to use some of the items the food bank gets a lot of in one dish—namely cabbage, carrot pieces, onions, and cottage cheese. Sounds like a casserole in the making to me! So here we go with Cabbage and Potato Casserole. And it turns out this dish was very comforting and quite tasty, and makes a great lunch the next day if you have leftovers.

Only problem: it’s expensive because it needs eggs to bind it and the cottage cheese is expensive when you purchase it at the grocery store. Also I felt that if there was ever a good use for 2 precious slices of bacon, this was it. And, it doesn’t matter where you shop, bacon is expensive!

It came out to 84 cents a serving, so it’s under the $1 limit. But really, is that 16 cents going to get you a salad or anything really substantial to accompany this dish? Not really. This is when you just have to go to bed early to forget how hungry and unsatisfied you are.

Which leads me to my disclaimer: I originally thought I’d be out of town for part of this challenge and was only going to contribute a recipe or two and blog about it. So I hadn’t really shopped or planned in a big way. Then I became ill, and didn’t go away, and during my time laid up, I started dreaming up recipes. One thing led to another and I decided I was going to do the challenge in a bigger way, but it sort of crept up on me and I’m not really doing it the right way.

I haven’t pledged to live for a week on $21 (I’m drinking coffee and going to work meetings where food is served). I’m also using some ingredients I have in my house and costing out equivalents on the Safeway.com site.

So I need to express my admiration for other bloggers who are doing the weeklong challenge strictly and blogging about their experiences along the way. Read about their experiences on Cooking with Amy and The Inadvertent Gardener.Next year I’d like to try to do the whole challenge to remind myself how very privileged I am.

Cabbage and Potato Casserole
Serves 6

1/2 pound potatoes
2 medium carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped (about 1 cup)
2 slices bacon, diced
1/2 pound onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
4 cups green cabbage, chopped
3 eggs, slightly beaten
1 cup cottage cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
1/3 cup grated Jack or cheddar cheese

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

If the potatoes are small, leave them whole, otherwise, cut them into quarters or halves. Bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil. Add a pinch of salt and the potatoes. Simmer the potatoes until tender and remove with a slotted spoon. Add the chopped carrot pieces to the boiling water and cook them until tender. Drain.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium heat, sauté the bacon until all the fat is rendered but it has not yet started to brown. Add the onion and sauté until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the cabbage and a pinch of salt and sauté until thoroughly wilted. Add the potato pieces and the carrots, stirring and breaking up the potatoes into smaller pieces with the edge of a spoon. Transfer to an 8 by 8 inch casserole dish.

Whisk the cottage cheese into the beaten egg and add salt and pepper. Pour it over the casserole and top with the grated Jack or cheddar cheese. Bake at 350 for 40-45 minutes, or until the eggs are set and the top is beginning to brown. Cool slightly before cutting into portions and serve immediately.

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5 Comments

  1. Posted September 24, 2008 at 7:27 am | Permalink

    This recipe sounds good! When the Food Bank put out that info about what ingredients they get the most of, I was kind of at a loss for how to use them in the most efficacious way — I’d definitely make this, though. I agree — bacon would be key to amping up the flavor, though.

  2. Posted September 24, 2008 at 8:25 am | Permalink

    Your recipe looks yummy! I was shocked how expensive potatoes were and had to scratch them from my shopping list. But I think if you got some of these ingredients from the food bank it might fit the budget. Really enjoying reading your experiences with the challenge.

  3. Posted September 25, 2008 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

    Vanessa, your caserole sounds like great comfort food – and if there’s one thing I’m craving on the Hunger Challenge, it’s comfort food (OK, and chocolate!). I think it’s brilliant how you used 3 ingrediets that often show up at the SF Food Bank for distribution. Clients often don’t take cottage cheese at neighborhood grocery distributions because it’s strange to them; they don’t know how to use it and don’t want to be wasteful. That makes this recipe really exciting!

  4. Posted December 11, 2009 at 7:47 am | Permalink

    Sweet potato casserole with cornflakes and marshmallows, I need the recipe?
    Does anyone have the recipe for Sweet Potato Casserole (Souffle) that has marshmallows and cornflakes in it?

  5. Posted January 20, 2010 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

    This recipe sounds very good! May try it tomorrow :)

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